February 2, 2007

Cheesy Grins, Block Building and Baking!

Only 12 days until Valentine’s Day! Can you believe it’s already February – where does the time go? Have to get to buying/making your Valentines!!! Well, enough contemplation, let’s get onto the good stuff…

Ellie has been learning new words and/or signs left and right! She has added bowl (with the sign), kitchen, cat (with the sign), and computer (just the sign) to her repertoire… there are a few others that I can’t think of just now – REALLY, there are!!! She’s also very happy to say Hi and Bye to anyone that might be walking or driving past, using her sweetest sing songy voice. She’s enjoying watching her Baby Einstein Around the House DVD and is absorbing everything she can from it. I guess she has decided it’s time to talk. Seems like a great idea to us – of course in a few months when she has endless questions and lots and lots of stories to tell us, we may be longing for the days of her limited speech. I’m looking forward to hearing more than goblity gook from Miss Ellie, she sounds so cute when she says her new words!! We’ve discovered that Ellie has quite a knack for building block towers… She is so careful when she’s building; really concentrates and takes her time. I think she’s got a steadier hand than I do!!!

Thought I would share a pretty tasty recipe from my recent baking experiences. This recipe was supposed to be for loaf bread, but after I mixed it up, it was so thick I thought it would work better as a drop biscuit/scone. And, it did!! Here is the recipe from “lip smackin’ Jams & Jellies”:

Orange-Marmalade Nut Bread (or Biscuits)

3 cups flour
1 TBSP baking powder
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
½ cup orange marmalade (would probably work w/ any thick jam)
2 TBSP grated orange rind (I omitted this)
¼ cup shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and orange rind. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry blender (I used my fingers) – the mix should resemble fine cornmeal. Mix the egg and milk together and add the marmalade. Add this wet mix to the dry and stir just until combined. Do not overmix! Fold in nuts. Pour into a well-greased 10x5x3-inch loaf pan. Let stand for 20 minutes and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.

***Since the dough was so thick, I dropped the dough onto greased cookie sheets and got about 16 biscuits/scones. I baked them for about 22 minutes and they came out perfect. VERY tasty with butter melting on top!!!

I’ve been baking bread like crazy the past couple of weeks and also gave orange marmalade a try. The marmalade came out really well and looked so pretty, but we discovered that the flavor is a bit strong for us. Wes and I had never had marmalade, so, this recipe was great to use some of it up. I need something new to bake… Post a comment and give me and idea!! I can easily get obsessed with finding the perfect recipe, so don’t make it something too difficult, like croissants!!!

We have also been working around the house, trying to work on some of the projects that just need to get finished. Wes and Derrill ran speaker wire and coaxial cable last weekend. The cable is for our DVR installation next week, and the speaker wire is for our surround sound. Wes has been intent on getting the speakers up on the walls and in their proper surround sound spots since we moved in. Well, now he’s done it. Of course, they had to tear into the wall to do it, so now he’s got some drywall patchin’ to do!!! I’ve been trying to get our office/craft room/library organized. It has been a huge mess since before Ellie was born – it’s our dumping ground and hiding space! I have already filled 3 trash bags and have quite a bit for giveaway/garage sale. It’s getting there though. Found some cute boxes and a great easel with a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other. Lowe’s had ‘em on the clearance rack - $1.00 each and the boxes each came with two picture frames that matched! Score!! I will post pictures when I get the room cleaned up and cute-ified!!

Hope you all have a nice weekend!

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